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U.S. advisory group against PSA screenings

WASHINGTON, May 21 (UPI) -- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent group of national volunteer experts, said it advises against prostate-specific antigen screenings.

This recommendation applies to men in the general U.S. population, regardless of age, and does not include the use of the PSA test for surveillance after diagnosis or treatment of prostate cancer; the use of the PSA test for this indication is outside the scope of the advisory group, said Dr. Michael LeFevre, co-chairman of the group.

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"Prostate cancer is a serious health problem that affects thousands of men and their families. But before getting a PSA test, all men deserve to know what the science tells us about PSA screening: There is a very small potential benefit and significant potential harms," the group said in a statement.

"We encourage clinicians to consider this evidence and not screen their patients with a PSA test unless the individual being screened understands what is known about PSA screening and makes the personal decision that even a small possibility of benefit outweighs the known risk of harms."

The task force concluded many men are harmed as a result of prostate cancer screening and few, if any, benefit -- a better test and better treatment options are needed, the advisory group said.

The Large Urology Group Practice Association said it was appalled at the recommendation that healthy men should no longer receive PSA blood tests as part of routine cancer screening.

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